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Organising your studies

This page contains useful information for organising your Bachelor or Master studies, including all required administrative procedures and how to go about your first days on campus.

For further assistance, you can also write to the Study Advisory team.

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  • Exceptional Measures - Academic Year 2020/21

    Application deadlines:

    • For the Bachelor and Master programmes of the Faculties of Lugano (Economics, Communication, Culture and Society and Informatics) and for the Master in History and Theory of Art and Architecture the term is extended as follows
      • Swiss and European students, or students who do not require a visa to study and reside in Switzerland - 31 August 2020
      • Students requiring a visa to study and reside in Switzerland - 31 May 2020
    • The current terms remain valid for the Academy's Bachelor and Master programs.
      • Students with a non-EU/EFTA diploma or students requiring a visa - 15 April 2020
      • Students with a Swiss or EU/EFTA diploma - 1 June 2020. 
    • For the programmes of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, the current terms remain valid.
      • For the Bachelor - 15 February 2020
      • For the Master - 30 April 2020 registration for the Master; late registration will be considered on the basis of available places). The Faculty reserves the right to extend the deadline on possible applications at the Federal level (Swissuniversities).

     

    Programmes that will accept enrolments in the Spring Semester:

    • Academy of Architecture
      • Master's degree in Architecture (matriculated students must take a semester of leave before graduation)
      • Master in History and Theory of Art and Architecture.
    • Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society
      • Bachelor in Communication,
      • Bachelor in Lingua, letteratura e civiltà,
      • Master in Lingua, letteratura e civiltà,
      • Master in Media Management,
      • Master in Philosophy.
    • Faculty of Economics
      • Bachelor in Economics,
      • Master in International Tourism,
      • Master in Public Management and Policy,
      • Master in Management (only for candidates with Bachelor in Economics to Management)
    • Faculty of Informatics
      • Bachelor in Informatics,
      • Master of Informatics,
      • Master in Artificial Intelligence,
      • Master in Computational Science,
      • Master in Financial Technology & Computing,
      • Master in Management & Informatics,
      • Master in Software & Data Engineering.

    Candidates must meet the minimum admission requirements, admission on reserve will not be possible.

     

     

    Frequently asked questions:

    • I still don't know when I'll take the high school final exam. What can I do?
      The first action we have put in place is the extension of the enrolment deadlines (see above): all students in the last year of high school should have finished their studies by the end of August.
    • What is the deadline to complete my Bachelor's degree, in order to attend the Master's courses?
      • Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society / Economics / Informatics - one student is eligible for the Master program on condition that 
        • he/she concludes all Bachelor's examinations by 15.10.2020, a deadline which may be extended if the Bachelor's conclusion sessions are postponed due to Covid-19 situations.
        • obtain the Bachelor's degree by 30 December 2020.
          The student will have the opportunity to take the exams of the midterm session 2020, however, the grades of these exams will be validated once the Bachelor is obtained.
          If the Bachelor's degree is not obtained by January 2021, enrolment in the 2021 winter session will be cancelled, the exams taken in the intermediate session will be invalidated and admission to the Master's degree will not be confirmed.
      • Academy of Architecture
        If "normal" attendance conditions are re-established, in SA20 students must be present at the Academy and carry out the teaching activity in the design workshops. Any extension of the terms for obtaining a Bachelor's degree to validate the admission of new students from other universities to the Master's degree will only be granted if the student lacks a thesis or exam that he or she can complete without interrupting attendance at Mendrisio.
        Attendance at the design workshop must be guaranteed from the beginning of the semester (September 2020). If the student still has to attend courses at another university, he/she will NOT be admitted to the Master for the autumn semester 2020/2021.
        The new student coming from other universities admitted under reserve must normally take the exams and the reviews of the atelier at the end of the semester.
        For the Master in Theory and Art History, the provisions adopted for the Faculties of Lugano apply.
        For students coming from the Academy's Bachelor of Architecture see the admission regulations and the provisions for the examinations of the SP 2020.
      • Faculty of Biomedical Sciences
        The partner universities have so far reported no difficulties for students in obtaining the Bachelor's degree within the time frame for admission to the Master's degree.
        The achievement of the Bachelor's degree by the beginning of the Master's degree is, therefore, an essential condition for admission to the Master's degree.
    • When do I have to submit my English language certification?
      • Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society / Economics / Informatics: by 30 December 2020. 

        If a student/student fails to obtain the required level of English by the deadline, enrolment in the 2021 winter session will be cancelled, the exams taken in the intermediate session will be invalidated and admission to the Master's degree will not be confirmed.
        ​Candidates will also be required to reach level C1 by the deadline for obtaining the degree. 

      • The Academy of Architecture and the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences do not require language certification for admission purposes. 
    • Will I be able to move to Switzerland in September?
      The authorities in Canton Ticino have blocked the issue of residence permits until 15 June 2020. Only after that date will we know what direction the Canton will take in this regard.
    • Will I be able to commute from Italy? Do you need special permits?
      As a rule, no special commuter permits are required. However, it is not possible to foresee what will happen in September, everything will depend on the provisions on the free movement of persons established by each country.
    • My family's economic and financial situation will be affected by the current crisis: will there be help?
      Yes, the second action we have taken is to raise funds to increase the number of scholarships to help students who are in a difficult financial situation as a result of the crisis.
    • The call for scholarships expires on 31.07: in case you don't have the high school degree/Bachelor's degree yet, what happens?
      Since most countries are working to ensure that all Matura students can complete their studies on time, this issue should not arise. In any case, you can compete with the elements available so far (e.g. average grades in recent years).
    • Are there any other specific facilitations planned for the next academic year?
      Possible deferred payments may be granted by the Administrative Department.
    • I am not sure I can move to Switzerland in 2020. Is it possible to take online courses for the next academic year?
      As there is great uncertainty about the development of the Covid-19 and as there is currently no scenario (by the authorities) that does not involve as much uncertainty, we cannot anticipate the details of the courses in the autumn semester 2020-2021. However, we are committed to honouring to the full the promise implicit in the acceptance of enrolment at USI, namely that by any means necessary we will accompany our students along the path they have chosen to lead them to acquire the skills and knowledge outlined in their study paths within the time frame foreseen.
  • USI campuses and how to reach them

  • Tuition and scholarships

    Tuition fees amount to CHF 4,000 per semester. For students whose official residence was in Switzerland, or in Liechtenstein at the time of the final high school exam (Maturità) the fees are of CHF 2,000.
    Tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each term, by the deadline indicated on the invoice; fee payment is an essential condition for matriculating or renewing one's enrolment.

    The complete list of scholarships offered to future USI students is available at:

  • Residence permit

    Foreign students wishing to stay in Switzerland during their study period must apply for a residence permit for educational purposes.  You must submit the application within 14 days of your arrival in Switzerland on the link below.

    All foreign students and Swiss students domiciled in Municipalities other than those where they are staying for study purposes must register with the Office for the Control of Residents of the municipality in which they reside.

    Foreign students residing in the frontier zone who return home daily do not need to apply for permission.

     

    A) Application procedure for EU/EFTA students

    https://www4.ti.ch/di/home-sp/servizi-online/permessi-per-stranieri/dimora-b/
    (click on Richiesta nuovo permesso, cittadini UE/AELS, avvio).

    Once completed, the student must print all the documents (NB, not front and back but on a single side), sign them and attach:

    • 2 identical photographs (3.5x4.5 cm), taken not more than 6 months before (indicating on the back given name, surname and date of birth)
    • Copy of ID (ID card or passport)
    • “Notification of Arrival” form
    • Certificate of enrolment issued by the University or confirmation of admission
    • Declaration by the University indicating the total duration and nature of the studies* (issued by the University on enrolment)
    • Copy of Lease of accommodation
    • General Certificate of criminal record

    All documents must be written and/or translated into Italian.

    *The student must declare that he/she has suitable accommodation and sufficient means to attend courses, pay premiums and contributions to the costs of compulsory health insurance (KVG) and for his/her own needs. He/she must also undertake to leave Switzerland at the end of his/her studies.

    Once the application has been submitted, the student is authorised to reside in Switzerland pending the decision.

    A foreign student residing in another canton must receive permission from the canton of residence or submit an application for change of canton in Ticino.

    The student will be summoned to the Lugano Migration Office (New Arrivals Service, Via Balestra 33) to check his/her documents before being issued with a residence permit for educational purposes.

    Any change of address, of nationality, of surname or given name, of transfer to another municipality or canton, any and all changes in marital status or family composition (namely marriage, birth, adoption, divorce, family reunification), and definitive departure from Switzerland or another canton must be notified to the Migration Office within 14 days. This notification does not exclude the obligation to notify other authorities.

    The residence permit for study purposes does not grant students automatic entitlement to paid employment. Therefore, foreign students enrolled in an academic degree programme at a university in Switzerland are required to obtain a specific authorisation from the competent authorities before they engage in paid employment (no authorization will be granted to Croatian students in the first 6 months from the issuance of the permit). The maximum permitted workload is 15 hours per week.
    To proceed with the notification students must follow the online procedure: https://www4.ti.ch/di/home-sp/servizi-online/permessi-per-stranieri/dimora-b/ (click on Notifica inizio attività studenti).

    Note: foreign students resident in countries that do not share a common border with Switzerland, must take out Swiss health insurance to work.

    Please click here (in Italian only) to read carefully the instructions for foreign citizens holding a residence permit for educational purposes.

     

    B) Application procedure for non-EU/EFTA students

    If subject to visa requirements (see link https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/publiservice/weisungen-kreisschreiben/visa/liste1_staatsangehoerigkeit/leg_visum.html) non-EU/EFTA students must apply for Entry Authorisation (visa) at the Swiss Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. Entry into Switzerland is only possible after the application is approved.
    Note: the procedure for issuing the visa can take between one and four months. A tourist visa for Switzerland cannot be converted into a student visa.

    Regardless of the visa, the student must apply for a residence permit.

    Within 14 days of entry into Switzerland, non-EU/EFTA students must send the following documents to the Migration Office in Bellinzona:

    • signed Entry Authorization
    • copy of passport
    • copy of visa
    • copy of lease of accommodation
    • photograph (3.5x4.5 cm)

    All documents must be written and/or translated into Italian.

    The student must declare that he/she has suitable accommodation and sufficient financial means to attend courses, afford the payment of premiums and contributions to the costs of compulsory health care insurance (KVG) and for his/her own needs. The University issues such declaration after the enrolment.

    The University offers the opportunity to take out health insurance (Academic Care) on arrival in Switzerland. The student must also undertake to leave Switzerland after completing his/her studies.

    Students will receive a first summons to the Lugano Migration Office (New Entrants Service, Via Balestra 33) to verify documents and a second summons to the Bellinzona Migration Office to register their biometric data.

    Pending the issue of a residence permit for educational purposes, students wishing to leave Switzerland must ensure that the entry visa on their passport is still valid (if not, they must request a new one from the Bellinzona Migration Office).

    The residence permit for study purposes does not grant students automatic entitlement to paid employment. Therefore, foreign students enrolled in an academic degree programme at a university in Switzerland are required to obtain a specific authorisation from the competent authorities before they engage in paid employment. The maximum permitted workload is 15 hours per week. No authorization will not be issued in the first 6 months from the issuance of the permit.
    To proceed with the notification students must follow the online procedure: https://www4.ti.ch/di/home-sp/servizi-online/permessi-per-stranieri/dimora-b/ (click on Notifica  inizio  attività  studenti ).

    Please click here (in Italian only) to read carefully the warnings for non-EU foreign citizens holding a residence permit for educational purposes.

     

    C) Procedure for renewing a residence permit for educational purposes

    The permit must be renewed each year, at least 14 days before it expires, following the procedure online:
    https://www4.ti.ch/di/home-sp/servizi-online/permessi-per-stranieri/dimora-b/

     

    Notice:  

    The Migration Office exacts fines that can be heavy in the event of failure to comply with the compulsory procedures or deadlines (for example for the extension of the permit or notification of change of address). 
    Meetings will be organised to assist students in difficulty to carry out the above procedures.
    The procedure is instituted by the Migration Office and may be changed at any time without the USI being informed.

    Registration with the residents’ registration office
    Students also must register with the local authorities (Residents’ registration office).

    Puntocittà
    Via della Posta
    6900 Lugano
    tel      +41 58 866 60 00
    fax     +41 58 866 60 09
    email  puntocitta@lugano.ch
    Opening hours:
    Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 7:30am - 12:00pm, and 1:30pm - 5pm
    Tuesday and Thursday: 7:30am - 6pm

    Municipio (City Hall) 
    Via Municipio 13
    6850 Mendrisio
    tel  +41 91 640 31 31
    Opening hours : Monday-Friday: 10am – 12pm, and 2pm – 4pm

  • Health insurance and Liability insurance

    Information on the subject of insurance coverage (health and liability) is available on the InfoDesk, the portal with practical information for the academic community:

  • Housing

    USI unfortunately does not have sufficient on-campus housing to accommodate all students, who should therefore provide for themselves. In case, the USI Accommodation Service can assist you.

    Further information on housing is available on the InfoDesk, the portal with all practicalities for the USI community:

     

  • Cost of living and daily life

    Cost of living

    Living costs in Lugano or Mendrisio are, on average, between CHF 1,300 - 1,900 per month.

    In general, the monthly student's budget should consider the following items:

    • CHF 450-800 for a shared single room or one-bedroom apartment
    • CHF 450 for food and other household expenses
    • CHF 50-100 for public transportation
    • CHF 50 for books and study materials
    • CHF 200 for expenses of various kinds
    • CHF 160-280 for Health Insurance, when required

     

    Practical information on daily life

    • Telephone

    To call Ticino from abroad, you must dial 0041 91 (land lines) and then the phone number.

    In Switzerland there are several mobile phone operators. Information on rates, subscriptions and prepaid cards may be obtained from the specialist shops throughout Ticino and at post offices. Generally, prepaid cards and contracts can be used with all standard GSM mobile phones on 900/1800 Mhz.

    • Shops

    The main supermarkets are open Mondays to Fridays from 8.30am to 7pm, Thursdays from 8.30am to 9pm, and Saturdays from 8.30am to 5pm (in the summer until 6pm). Smaller shops usually stay open until 6.30pm (also on Thursdays) and close on Saturdays 5pm. In Mendrisio, the "Foxtown" is open every day, 7 days a week, 11.00am to 7pm.

    • Banks

    To open a personal bank account in Switzerland, students are required to present a valid passport or identity card and a certificate of enrolment issued by USI. Certain banks may ask for additional documents. It is advisable to open a student account, which generally offers a series of advantages.

    Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 09am to 4.30pm.

    • Post Office

    Post offices now provide a variety of products and facilities: stamps, stationery, money transfers from abroad (international money orders are handled only by the main post offices) and other products. In addition, the Post Office offers the “PostFinance account” as an alternative to a bank account. To open an account at the Post Office, students are required to provide an identity document (passport or ID), a residence permit and a certificate of enrolment issued by USI.

    For more information: www.postfinance.ch

    • Rail

    Students can purchase a “Swiss Half-Price Card” from a Swiss Railway ticket office (www.sbb.ch/en) that entitles them to a 50% reduction on all train fares in Switzerland. Swiss Rail also offers season tickets at special rates for commuters, i.e. people who live just across the border in Italy and travel to Switzerland every day. Other train passes are available that entitle the holder to travel for free after 7pm (www.binario7.ch). 

    • Buses 

    The buses guarantee efficient mobility in the city of Lugano and the surrounding towns. Other towns and cities in the surrounding regions can be reached with the yellow coaches (Autopostale) or by the Lugano public transportation network (Autolinee Regionali Luganesi). Further information on Lugano’s public transportation (TPL) is available at this page (in Italian)

    In Mendrisio, city bus nr.1, as well as a yellow 'Autopostale' coach, provide regular connections between the Academy and the cities of Chiasso and Como. 

    Information on bus passes is available on the website www.arcobaleno.ch 

    • Cars 

    In Switzerland, you must be at least 18 years old to obtain a drivers licence. A foreign driving licence is valid in Switzerland for one year. If the stay is longer than 12 months, then a Swiss driving licence will be required. During the first 12 months, an automatic exchange for a Swiss driving licence can be requested from the vehicle registration office in Camorino. If the Swiss driving licence is not requested within 12 months, the person has to retake the driving licence exam in Switzerland. 

    For more information: www.ti.ch/circolazione (in Italian) 

    • Bicycle 

    Bicycles at reasonable prices can be purchased from: Soccorso Operaio Svizzero SOS, Atelier RI-cicletta, Via Zurigo 17, CH-6900 Lugano. USI offers, through the student ID card, an annual free subscription "regiopass" for the bike sharing service. 

    • USI student discounts 

    USI's students can benefit from the discounts and special rates listed at this page.

  • First steps at USI

    Administration

     

    Documents and accounts

     

    Courses

     

    Information

  • Calendar and schedules

  • Language courses

    USI offers language courses in Italian, French, German and English before the beginning of the academic year and throughout the semesters.

    Information:

     

  • Regulations

  • Other study-related infomation

    Information on exams, internships, exchange programs and mobility, campus life, etc. is available on InfoDesk, the portal with practical information for the USI community. 

    Another point of access for this information is the navigation page for students, which contains a series of useful links to the InfoDesk, divided by subject.